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Call for Resignation of GDA’s Tommy Irvin

GDA and the National Salmonella Scandal

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™dr-david-marcinko5

[Editor-in-Chief]

Tommy Irvin is the longest serving statewide official in Georgia, as well as in the United States.  Since 1969, he has served as Georgia’s Agriculture Commissioner. He was elected to his 10th four-year term this past November 2006. And, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s website,

Pride and integrity run deep in Georgia. Our fruit, vegetable and nut growers strive to bring you the very best in quality, variety, dependability, and value.

The site states that Commissioner Irvin was recognized nationally for his service as an agriculture leader with broad experiences and keen insights. He continues to be sought after on the local, state and regional levels not only for his knowledge and experience but also for his political acumen in working with diverse groups and individuals.

Oh, really! What about the Peanut Corporation of American [PCA] salmonella incident that is now unfolding in the small town of Blakely, in South Georgia and nationally? 

About the GDA

Georgia Department of Agriculture [GDA] was established in 1874. While it is the oldest state department of agriculture in the US; Irvin is not quite as old. And, it is not a branch of USDA; but maybe it should be?

The department’s mission is to provide excellence in services and regulatory functions, to protect and promote agriculture and consumer interests, and to ensure an abundance of safe food and fiber for Georgia, America, and the world by using state-of-the-art technology and a professional workforce. The department has 696 employees under the leadership of Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin.

But, according to current news reports, the GDA has only 16 peanut plant inspectors and is spread far too thin.

GDA Units

Units within the department include: Administration, Animal Industry, Consumer Protection, Plant Industry and Marketing. The Georgia Department of Agriculture regulates, monitors, or assists with the following areas: grocery stores, convenience stores, food warehouses, bottling plants, food processing plants, pet dealers and breeders, animal health, gasoline quality and pump calibration, antifreeze, weights and measures, marketing of Georgia agricultural products domestically and internationally, pesticides, structural pest control, meat processing plants, seed quality, Vidalia onions, state farmers markets, plant diseases, nurseries and garden centers, fertilizer and lime, potting soil; feed, boll weevil eradication, apiaries, Humane Care for Equines Act, bottled water, peanuts and other responsibilities.

The Salmonella Peanut Butter Incident

As of Friday, January 23, 2009, Irvin is alerting consumers to the recall of more products that may contain peanut ingredients, supplied by Peanut Corporation of America, which is the subject of an FDA investigation concerning recent Salmonella outbreaks.

Death Toll

For a complete list of recalled products, see http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html
 

The following companies are recalling products:

Aspen Hills, Inc of Garner, Iowa is recalling of some cookie dough products. The products are sold nationwide in 3 lb. pails, and 3 lb. corrugated boxes to distributors who are involved in fund raising.

The following products are recalled:

Baker Jo’s Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, and Monster 3 lb. pails – Date codes: 08273, 08281
Ovens of Ashley Monster 3 lb. pails – Date code: 08273
Gourmet Cookie Dough Peanut Butter, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk 3 lb. pails – Date code: 08273
Gigi’s Peanut Butter 3 lb. pail – Date code: 08281 Gigi’s Peanut Butter 3 lb. corrugated box – Date code: 08277
Arizona Gold Peanut Butter, and I love Peanut Butter 3 lb. pails – Date code: 08281
ABC Dough Peanut Butter 3 lb. pails – Date codes: 08261, 08263, 08268, 08277, 08288, 08297  

No other Aspen Hills products are included in the recall. Consumers who have purchased the recalled products should dispose of them. Those with questions can contact Aspen Hills at 888-273-0302.
 

South Bend Chocolate Company

The South Bend Chocolate Company of South Bend, Ind. is recalling the following candies sold under the company brand name:

Assorted chocolates in 5 ounce (Products with labels reading 121 and 121R,UPC #4482300121 are under recall), 8 ounce (Products with labels reading 122, 122DK and 122R, UPC #4482300122 are under recall), 12 ounce (Products with labels reading 123 and 123DK, UPC #4482300123 are under recall) and 26 ounce (Product 124, UPC #4482300124 is under recall) boxes. [Note: the sugar free assorted chocolates are not affected, and are not part of the recall].

Hoosiers in 1.5 ounce (Product 010, UPC# 4482300011) and 3.0 ounce (Product 011, UPC# 4482300010.  [Note:  These are corrected sizes].
Valentine Heart, 14 ounces (Products with labels reading 1020 and 1020R, UPC #4482310201 are under recall).

Additionally Christmas gift boxes (CC, CCLG, CCXL and CCXXL) and any other gift baskets may have included the assorted chocolate boxes.

The following products are also being recalled and are sold to retail stores in bulk for sales of smaller quantities to their customers: 

4.5lb Peanut Butter Fudge, Product 228, UPC #4482300228
4 lb. Hoosiers, Product 410, UPC #4482300410
5 lb. Peanut Butter Meltaway, Milk Chocolate, Product 204, UPC #4482300204
5 lb. Peanut Butter Meltaways-Dark Chocolate, Product 204D, UPC #4482302044
4.5lb Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge, Product 229, UPC #4482300229

Replacement products that are not under recall can be distinguished from recalled products by the presence of a round gold sticker, which are placed on the bottom of the boxes and/or baskets of replacement products that are not being recalled.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products should discard them or return them to the place of purchase. Those with questions may contact the South Bend Chocolate Company at 574-233-2577.

Rain Creek Baking Company

The Rain Creek Baking Corporation of Madera, Calif. is recalling of Sinbad and Rain Creek Baking Company branded dessert products produced with peanut butter. The products will be marked with an “exp” (as in expiration date), “best before” date or a lot code. The expiration date or the best before date will read July 22, 2009 and prior. Lot numbers are 08182 sequentially through 08366 and 09001 sequentially through 09022. These lot numbers can be found on the bottom label next to the ingredient statement:

SinbadSweets.com 12pc Peanut Butter Princess     
0 38105 10304 3
Sinbad® Special Baklava Assortment
0 38105 10933 0
19 pc Bakery and Sweets
0 38105 10985 4
Sinbad® Sweets Enrobed Peanut Butter Princesses
0 38105 10996 0
Sinbad® Sweets Enrobed Peanut Butter Baskets
0 77589 37133 0
Rain Creek Baking Company® Peanut Butter Princesses
0 38105 20013 1
Rain Creek Baking Company® Peanut Butter Turtles
0 38105 20026 1
Rain Creek Baking Company® Peanut Butter Turtle Shells
0 38105 20031 5
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20101 5
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20102 2
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20103 9
Sinbad® Galleta estilo Baklava
0 38105 20106 0
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20117 6
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20120 6
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20124 2
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20127 5
Sinbad® Sweets Peanut Butter Princess Baklava
0 38105 20128 2
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20129 9
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 20130 5
Sinbad® Galletas estilo Baklava
0 38105 20180 0
Rain Creek Baking Company® Baklava Assortment *
0 38105 20211 1
Rain Creek Baking Company® Baklava Assortment
0 38105 20213 5
Sinbad® Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 21335 3
Sinbad® Sweets European Baklava Assortment *
0 38105 21339 1
Sinbad® Sweets Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 21375 9
Sinbad® Sweets Baklava & Sweets
0 38105 21382 7
Sinbad® Sweets Caffe Sweets
0 38105 22143 3
Rain Creek Baking Corporation® Baklava Assortment *
0 38105 22280 5
Michael’s Baklava Assortment
0 38105 22297 3
Rain Creek Baking Corporation® Hand Crafted Baklava
0 38105 22306 2
Items with an asterisk (*) are the only 2009 produced items (when looking for lot numbers). Consumers who have purchased the following products with the expiration dates listed should dispose of the products or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Chef Jay’s Food Products

Chef Jay’s Food Products of Las Vegas, Nev. is recalling some peanut butter-related products. The following products, in all sizes and packages, with the “Best By” dates ranging from 06/Sept/09 thru 16/Jan/10 are included in the recall: 

Peanut Butter Tri-O-Plex Duo Bar (100 gram)
Peanut Butter Tri-O-Plex Cookie (85 gram)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Tri-O-Plex Cookie (85 gram)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Tri-O-Plex Lite Bites Cookie (57 gram)
Peanut Butter Tri-O-Plex Brownie (85 gram)

Consumers who have purchased the recalled products are urged to dispose of them immediately but may retain the package with the “Best By” dates ranging 06/Sept/09 thru 16/Jan/10 in order to receive replacement product.

Those with questions regarding product replacement can find these details at www.chefjays.com, by emailing customerservice@chefjays.com or calling 702-450-7711. 

Arbonne International

Arbonne International, LLC, Irvine, Calif. is recalling certain lots of Arbonne Figure 8 Chews because the products contain peanut butter. The recall includes only the Arbonne Figure 8 Chews with the following lot numbers (with shipping dates ranging from October 27, 2008 to January 19, 2009):

A8296-8291 / EXPIRATION DATE 10/2009
A8331-8291 / EXPIRATION DATE 10/2009
A8331-8309 / EXPIRATION DATE 11/2009
B8331-8309 / EXPIRATION DATE 11/2009
C8331-8309 / EXPIRATION DATE 11/2009
A8336-8291 / EXPIRATION DATE 10/2009

The chews were sold in individual packages and as a component of the Go Figure 8 30-Day Program Set and the Figure 8 Ready, Set, Go! Vanilla product bundles. The lot number for Arbonne Figure 8 Peanut Butter Chews may be found on the lower left back panel of the bag.

Arbonne will replace the product with Arbonne Figure 8 Chocolate Chews or refund the money paid for the recalled product. In order to exchange the product or receive a refund, the consumer must provide the lot number of the recalled product. If Arbonne consumers are unsure if they have the recalled product, they are requested to contact the Arbonne Customer Service Center. Requests for refunds, product exchanges or other questions should be addressed to Arbonne’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-ARBONNE.

Parker Products, Inc.

Parker Products, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas has announced the recall of the following products. The products are sold nationwide in bulk pack cases as an ingredient to manufacturers and companies for private label.  
None of these products are sold directly to consumers.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup 1442
Manufactured on 11/6/08, lot code 08296, 30 pound case.
Peanut Butter Cookies & Crème Organic Bark 2348
Manufactured on 10/3/08, lot code 08277, 10 pound case.
Peanut Butter Milk Blend 2310
Manufactured on 07/31/08, lot code 08184, 30 pound case.
Consumers who have purchase the recalled products should dispose of them. Those with questions regarding this recall may contact Parker Products at 800-433-5749.

General Nutrition Centers, Inc.

General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (GNC), Pittsburgh, Pa, is issuing a voluntary recall of some Peanut Butter Soft Chews.

The recall involves only GNC Triflex Peanut Butter Soft Chews with lot numbers ending in 8275 and 8255. The product’s ten digit lot number can be found on the bottom of the product’s package. No other GNC brand products have been impacted by the recall. Those who have purchased the recalled product should discard it. Consumers with questions or who would like a refund may contact GNC’s Customer Service at 888-462-2548.

Jimmy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Inc.

Jimmy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Inc., Fair Lawn, N.J. is recalling certain packages of cookies that have peanut butter as an ingredient. The products subject to recall include Jimmy’s Cookies and One Smart Cookie Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies in retail pack sizes 4 oz, 12.5 oz, and 18 oz. and cookie dough in 15 lb, 20 lb and 25 lb foodservice pack sizes with pack dates 12/4/08 – 1/14/09. No other Jimmy’s Cookies or One Smart Cookie retail packages are included in this recall. Jimmy’s Cookies and One Smart Cookie brands are distributed in most Eastern, Southern and Midwestern states through supermarket in store bakeries, convenience stores and lunch trucks.  The packaging is clear plastic, round, rectangular, or octagonal, with a label bearing the brand name. Consumers who have purchased the recalled cookies should either discard or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Questions may be directed to the company at 800-937-5050.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s of Monrovia, Calif. is recalling three peanut butter-related products. The recalled products include private label Peanut Butter Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars, 7.4-ounce (UPC 88713), Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars 7.4-ounce (UPC 88721) and Sutter’s Formula Cookies, 16-ounce (SKU 00176).

The affected Sutter’s Formula Cookies were sold only in Trader Joe’s stores located in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. The Peanut Butter Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars and Nutty Chocolate Chewy Coated & Drizzled Granola Bars were sold at Trader Joe’s stores nationwide.

Consumers who have purchased these items (any date code) are urged to return them to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund.  Those with questions may contact Trader Joe’s Customer Service at 626-599-3817.

As of Jan 24, 2009 – The peanut butter salmonella outbreak has now killed at least eight people, and sickened 550 others in 43 states. A Minnesota woman in her eighties is the latest victim. Enough is enough!

Assessment

I studied, if you can call it that, almost 15 years ago for my Georgia State insurance license. Then, as is now, there was only one question about the GDA. The answer was always the same; Irvin. He was one powerful dude in the sticks of South Georgia and usually ran unopposed for his position [think Boss Hogg in the “Dukes of Hazard”]. But now, we ask that you call and demand the resignation of Tommy Irvin. After 40 years, he deserves the rest; and so do we. We sure don’t need any more RIPs.

Georgia Department of Agriculture
19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr, SW
Atlanta, Georgia  30334

Tele: (404) 656-3645
Toll Free: (800) 282-5852
TTY: (404) 657-8387

Furthermore, if you call the Georgia Department of Agriculture during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., you will always be greeted by a person, not a machine:

“We believe when you contact your Department of Agriculture, you should be able to talk directly to a person who can give you the individual attention that you deserve and expect.”

Industry Index Indignation Rating: 90

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Tell the live-person at the GDA that “Irvin must go”; or leave a message on their new machine. Of course, defenders of Irvin are also asked to opine, and defend him, in good-faith. Perhaps former President Jimmy Carter will chime-in on the Irvin controversy?

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About Healthcare Financials.com

Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies]

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA
Managing Editor
hetico3

This 2-volume, quarterly subscription print publication will reshape the hospital management landscape by following three important principles www.HealthcareFinancials.com

1. World Class Advisory Board

First, we have assembled a world-class editorial advisory board and independent team of contributors and asked them to draw on their experience in economic thought leadership and managerial decision making in the healthcare industrial complex. Like many readers, each struggles mightily with the decreasing revenues, increasing costs, and high consumer expectations in today’s competitive healthcare marketplace.  Yet, their practical experience and applied operating vision is a source of objective information, informed opinion, and crucial information for this manual and its quarterly updates.

2. Writing Style

Second, our writing style allows us to condense a great deal of information into each quarterly issue.  We integrate prose, applications and regulatory perspectives with real-world case models, as well as charts, tables, diagrams, sample contracts, and checklists.  The result is a comprehensive oeuvre of financial management and operation strategies, vital to all healthcare facility administrators, comptrollers, physician-executives, and consulting business advisors.

3. Compelling Content

Third, as editors, we prefer engaged readers who demand compelling content. According to conventional wisdom, printed manuals like this one should be a relic of the past, from an era before instant messaging and high-speed connectivity. Our experience shows just the opposite. Applied healthcare economics and management literature has grown exponentially in the past decade and the plethora of Internet information makes updates that sort through the clutter and provide strategic analysis all the more valuable. Oh, it should provide some personality and wit, too! Don’t forget, beneath the spreadsheets, profit and loss statements, and financial models are patients, colleagues and investors who depend on you.

Assessment

ho-journal1

Rest assured, Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies] will become an important peer-reviewed vehicle for the advancement of working knowledge and the dissemination of research information and best practices in our field. In the years ahead, we trust these principles will enhance utility and add value to both your print and this e-companion subscription.

Conclusion

Most importantly, we hope to increase your return on investment. If you have any comments or would like to contribute material or suggest topics for a future update, please contact us.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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Physician Retirement Threats and Opportunities

Investing Vehicle Updates for Modernity

By Steven Podnos; MD, MBA, CFP®

coins

Most physicians count on their retirement plans for the bulk of their financial security. Yet, few of us understand the intricate workings of these plans, and are therefore misled or at the least miss out on a number of cost savings and benefits. Here are some examples to consider, especially during this time of financial upheaval:

1. Jim L, an endocrinologist in private practice, works with his wife as office manager and has four other employees.  Jim had a “free” prototype profit sharing plan with a well known brokerage and has been putting 15% of his total employee compensation away every year in order to fund about $35,000 dollars a year into his own plan.  He pays his wife $60,000 dollars a year in order to get a $9,000 dollar annual contribution for her, but at a social security cost of the same $9,000 dollars.  His plan is invested in a variety of “loaded” mutual funds and stocks at the brokerage, and he was not really sure how it was doing in terms of performance.

Change:

The plan was changed to a customized 401k/profit sharing plan using a Third Party Administrator at a cost of 2500 dollars.  Jim’s wife lowered her salary to $20,000 dollars, which saved over $5,000 dollars a year in social security taxes.  Yet Jim and his wife were now able to contribute over $65,000 dollars in pretax money (rather than $44,000 dollars in prior years.  His employee cost for the plan dropped from 15% of a $100,000dollar payroll to 6%, another annual savings of $9,000 dollars. 

2. Statewide Healthcare medical group had an insurance based “retirement” plan.  All of the investments allowed were wrapped in variable annuity/insurance wrappers with an annual expense ratio of between 2 and 4% annually. The plan was “free” to the group but did not allow any differentiation in benefits or contributions between the physicians and their employees

Change:

An unbundled 401k/profit sharing plan was designed that allowed physicians to contribute the maximum in salary deferral and profit sharing contributions. Using an age-weighted contribution formula, the physicians were able to put away 14% of their salary in the profit sharing plan as compared with a 5% contribution for employees.  The new investment portfolios carried an annual cost well below 1% annually and were actively monitored by a fee only fiduciary advisor, mostly relieving the group from the fiduciary responsibility for the fund investments.

3. Kirk L, an orthopedic surgeon employed his wife and 5 employees in a busy practice.  He is 55 years of age and looking towards retirement in ten years.  He had a reasonably well designed 401k/profit sharing plan advisor which let him and his wife put away about 70-75 thousand dollars a year with an employee cost of about 15 thousand dollars. He was beginning to worry about not having enough savings to make his retirement goal.

Change:

Kirk and two of his younger employees were switched to a new Defined Benefit plan, but also continued in the 401k salary deferral plan. Kirk’s wife and the remaining employees stayed in the old plan and his wife’s salary was reduced to lower Social Security costs.  With the new plan, Kirk and his wife are now putting away about $200,000 dollars in pretax contributions annually at a marginally higher cost for the employees.

Poorly Designed Retirement Plans

None of these stories are unusual, in fact they are typical.  Most physician retirement plans are poorly designed, expensive and misunderstood.  Few existing plans are updated to capture the many positive changes made in tax law over the last decade.  Many plans are shoddily designed to catch the “quick” dollar, with financially terrible consequences to the physicians.

Qualified Plans

And so, I’ll review the most common types of retirement plans available to medical practices and discuss the pros, cons and specific opportunities each type for most practices. Note that most of these plans are considered “qualified” plans by the US Government.  Being qualified means that contributions to the plans are allowed to be deducted as business expenses and that the plan assets are generally protected from creditors.  In exchange, the government requires extensive paperwork and mandatory contributions for employees on the lower end of the salary scale. 

1. SEP-IRA

The SEP-IRA allows a fixed percentage of salary (up to 25% of W2 income) to be contributed to individual IRAs of most employees (including the physicians). There can be no discrimination in what percentage of compensation is used between owner/managers and lower paid employees, making this a relatively expensive plan in terms of employee funding. There is no component of salary deferral by employees, and all plan funding is immediately “vested” (belongs to the employee immediately if they leave employment).

The advantages of the SEP plan include a minimum of paperwork and ease of setup. Generally, SEP-IRA plans are used by small family owned businesses with few to no outside employees. It does work well for physicians that act as Independent Contractors (no employees) such as many Emergency Room physicians.  However, an individual contractor with an income of less than around $170,000 dollars can actually put more pre-tax money away in a Self-Employed 401k plan.

2. SIMPLE-IRA

This plan is another relatively easy one to set up and administer. It allows companies that have less than 100 employees to open individual IRA accounts for employees. The employees may defer salary in amounts of $10,500-$13,000 (depending on age), and the employer supplies a “match.” All money in the plan is immediately vested. The match is generally (but not always) a dollar for dollar matching contribution of up to 3% of the employee’s compensation.

For example, a company owner with a compensation of 100,000 dollars would be able to defer salary in an amount of up to $13,000 (if age 50 or older), and then have the company “match” 3% or $3,000 more. A SIMPLE IRA plan is a good choice for small businesses in which the owners are highly compensated, and few employees wish to defer salary. The disadvantages of the SIMPLE-IRA are immediate vesting for the matched funds, and relatively low total amounts of contributions compared to other qualified plans. 

NOTE:

I have seen these plans work well in small practices that wish to avoid paperwork, have few to no employees that wish to defer salary, and who don’t mind the limited ability to make contributions.  Note one unusual feature of this plan, in that the 3% match has no limits. I have seen one physician with a small group of employees and an income of $600,000 dollars per year put away 13,000 in salary deferrals and another ($600K X 3%) 18K in the match at no employee cost!

3. 401k/PROFIT SHARING PLAN

This is by far the most common type of qualified plan in existence.  These plans actually have three components:

 

a)       401k salary deferral-In 2008, employees may defer between 15,500 and 20,500 dollars. This money and earnings on it are not subject to Federal income tax until withdrawn in retirement, and are immediately vested.

b)       A “match”-this is an optional part of the plan in which an employer may offer to contribute a matching amount of dollars to give employees an incentive to participate.  Matching funds are usually subject to vesting on a time schedule.

c)       Profit sharing-like the match, this is a discretionary contribution by the employer of up to 25% of payroll and usually subject to vesting.

 

It is crucial to have a skilled plan designer customize a 401K plan for your individual practice.  The most common abuse of these plans is the use of “cookie cutter” prototype plans used by brokerages and insurance companies. These prototype plans are for the convenience and profit of the person “selling” the plan, and are a solid negative for the practice. Customization allows the physicians to have maximal participation at the lowest employee cost.

There is also a self employed 401k option for small practices that have no full time employees other than the physician and spouse. They operate in much the same way, but with little expense and much less paperwork.

4. DEFINED BENEFIT PLAN

Once common, these plans are now rarely used by most companies. They are based completely on company contributions to a fund (no salary deferral) that are actuarially designed to produce a set benefit amount at retirement. All the risk for providing the promised benefit is the responsibility of the employer, which is an advantage when the major beneficiary is the physician. Defined Benefit plans work best for practices in which the physician/employee ratio is low and the physician(s) is approaching age 50 or older. The advantage of this plan is allowing much higher contributions on a pretax basis, with the disadvantage of higher administrative costs. These plans work extremely well for high income businesses employing one individual (plus or minus a spouse) who is nearing age 50 or over. However, physician practices that employ a spouse or physicians of different ages can often use a Defined Benefit Plan in conjunction with a 401k/profit sharing plan to great benefit as in example three.

Assessment

Doctors have a tremendous opportunity to review and enhance the retirement plan options. Although the article focuses on these medical professionals and related occupations, much of the material applies to other professional and business clients.  A relationship with a good Third Party Administrator [TPA] and some independent study are invaluable to your ability to perform this function well.

Conclusion

Dr. Podnos is a fee-only financial planner and the author of “Building and Preserving Your Wealth, A Practical Guide to Financial Planning for Affluent Investors” (available at Amazon.com and bookstores). He can be reached at Steven@wealthcarellc.com And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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Recent Elder Housing Updates

Legal Protections, Home Equity Resources and Housing Options

By Staff Reporters

insurance-book1

Recently, significant updates and expanded coverage of the housing market for the elderly has occurred. Several items include efforts to protect consumers, and senior medical professionals, from current difficulties in the housing market. For example, these include the following three updates:

1. FINRA on Reverse Mortgages

An alert issued by the Financial Industry National Regulatory Authority (FINRA), warns that:

“as more Americans near retirement age, some financial institutions are aggressively marketing reverse mortgages as an easy, cost-free way for retirees to finance lifestyles – or to pay for risky investments  that can jeopardize their financial futures.” 

FINRA’s position is that such vehicles should be used only as a last resort.

2. HECM on Primary Residences

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Demonstration (HECM) program, which was first authorized by Congress in 1987, helps elderly homeowners meet their financial needs and provides borrowers with insurance against lender default. Now, homeowners can also use a HECM to purchase a primary residence if they are able to use cash on hand to pay the difference between the HECM proceeds and the sales price plus closing costs for the property they are purchasing.

3. ERA Home-Keeper Program

As a result of the passage of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Fannie Mae announced the discontinuance of its Home Keeper reverse mortgage program, effective as of December 31, 2008.  Some state programs encourage the use of reverse mortgages, in contrast to federal warnings, as a financial tool to help elderly homeowners pay for home and community services so they can “age in place.”

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated, as we follow-up our four part series on: At Home or Nursing Home Care for Long Term Care. Comments from physicians and LTC insurance agents are especially valued.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

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